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North Sea Oil

Volume 14: debated on Thursday 3 December 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether a depletion policy for North Sea oil will be settled by the Government before the sale of shares in the British National Oil Corporation's production and exploration interests.

The Government's depletion policy for North Sea oil was announced by my predecessor on 23 July 1980, leaving the question of production cuts open. This question is currently under review. I intend to announce a decision as soon as possible and before the sale of shares in BNOC's oil producing business.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the price of North Sea oil to industry in the United Kingdom; and to industry in the Federal Republic of Germany.

United Kingdom crude oil prices are market prices determined in commercial negotiations between buyers and sellers. The British National Oil Corporation is the major trader of United Kingdom crude oil and I understand that following the outcome of the OPEC meeting on 29 October, the corporation negotiated a price of $36ยท50 a barrel for Forties oil, which is regarded as the United Kingdom reference oil. This is a market price which would apply to all customers, whether here or abroad.